We have blogged about return to work plans numerous times, but a general summary may be of use. The essence of this post is that return to work plans that are staged and developed together with the injured worker give injured workers a greater chance to return to work, quickly and safely and in a durable manner. This article also covers the VIC return to work dispute process (dedicated to ‘Porsche47’).
Return to work plans with set stages, developed together with the injured worker’s input and their treating doctor offer employers and injured workers the best chance of a timely and sustainable return to work.
One of the most frustrating things about workplace injuries is that injured workers’ employers’ interests (and those of the insurer of course) are very often at odds with the injured worker’s interests. A common example, your employer would like you to return to work as soon as possible. If you’re injured, it’s in your best interest to wait until you are healed and physically (or mentally) ready to handle your job demands. Or else, you could get injured again or never make a full recovery.
What to do when your treating doctor says you can work or return to work but you know or think you can’t, or you simply disagree? This is a good question and one we receive countless time from injured workers.
The following Fair Work Commission legal decision has ruled that employers are allowed to seek further clarification where medical clearances provided by (injured) workers are general in nature, or where there are genuine concerns that there is a risk to health and safety if the (injured) worker returns to work. In other words, employers can send you to attend a medical assessment, even with a company doctor!
Flinders University researchers have received a WorkSafe SA grant to study the relationship between prescribed (S)hedule 8 opioids, workplace injury and the ability to return to work after a work-related accident.
The following legal cases highlights again that a return to work (RTW) plan must be made in consultation with the injured worker and his/her doctor. In other words, if no consultation was/is made a RTW refusal is valid.
Further to our article “Alternative jobs for injured workers unrealistic” and the practice of “dodgy” rehabbers proposing bizarre “suitable/alternative work” to injured workers, here is another legal case have where a court has found the proposed alternative occupation for an injured worker to be unrealistic.
Did you know that in NSW an injured worker who has been terminated because of his injury can seek reinstatement when the (injured) worker becomes fit for employment (even with some restrictions) within 2 years of the termination.
Doctors’ reports—particularly IME reports— on injured workers are all too often painfully lacking any understanding of the injured worker’s workplace or the inherent requirements of injured workers’ job/position. This often results in the assessment of a “fit-for-work” injured worker, without, for example, any consideration(s) to restrictions or reasonable adjustments that should be made in the workplace.